The Vlady-Bibi Tapes
BIBI: "So what will you do to help us if we decide to do something?"
VLADY: "What did the Saudis offer?"
BIBI: "What do the Russians offer? I assume you will denounce us within hours, and call for the usual international conference to save the world from Zionist imperialism..."
VLADY: "Of course. If the Iranians suspect we're helping you, things might get even worse. This way, I'll have at least some control over the Persians.
What will we do for you? We've already promised that the Israeli Air Force doesn't have to worry about Russian missiles, if you follow our instructions."
BIBI: "How about placing some homing devices in the middle of their secret centrifuges?"
VLADY: "We might consider that."
BIBI: "Some offer! You're asking us to run the risk of massive retaliation and promising to lead the denunciation chorus when we do what you want. You'd better be willing to do more than enable us to beat the antiaircraft system."
VLADY: "I understand how you feel. But, as I told that nice Spanish man, Aznar, I really don't have to do anything about Iran, because you're going to have to take care of it anyway."
BIBI: "I take it you don't want the Americans involved?"
VLADY: "And you do, of course."
BIBI: "You answer first."
VLADY: "I don't want them involved, but not for the reason you likely imagine. I'm not worried about America expanding its influence. That's unthinkable these days. Nobody, but nobody in the Middle East believes this American president has the will to fight effectively for his friends or allies.
My concern is that if the Americans get involved, they'll make a mess of it. Yes, they've got amazing weapons, and wonderful soldiers. But they can't make political decisions and so they can win the fighting on the ground and then find a way to leave their enemies stronger than before."
BIBI: "Like Iraq, you're thinking?"
VLADY: "And Libya. And of course Egypt, where they have enabled the Brotherhood--declared enemies of the United States--to become the premier political force. And they seem quite happy about it, too. Amazing."
BIBI: "I just want the Americans to help us with some technical matters, but I agree with you that they seem to have an odd desire to see their proclaimed enemies succeed, and their declared or would-be friends defeated. It's hard to explain."
VLADY: "They think that past presidents have caused the basic problems in the region by supporting the wrong sort of regimes, and they believe organizations like the Brotherhood have a legitimate complaint against America."
BIBI: "So where do we stand?"
VLADY: "You need to confirm that you're going to solve this problem as quickly as possible. I will try to find some way to hold Syria together, even if the regime in Tehran falls, and then we will work together to limit Turkey's power in the region."
BIBI: "But what if the sanctions work?"
VLADY: "Do you think your sabotage of the nuclear program can delay the day of judgment long enough to test the theory? Can you risk that? We of course will help the Iranians beat the sanctions, and so will our dear Chinese friends, and the Indians will both support and evade the sanctions. You're looking at several more years, at a minimum."
BIBI: "And revolution in Iran?"
VLADY: "Yes, that's the wild card. Who knows? At least we can be sure that neither the Americans nor the Europeans will do anything to encourage it. The Arab revolutions aren't working out well for them, and they are more determined than before to solve things with the ayatollahs."
BIBI: "OK, VLADY, I think we understand each other. You owe me an answer on Russian assistance if we decide to do something, and I owe you a head's up on our decision.
Now what shall we say to the press?"
VLADY: "How about I insist that everyone except us stay out of the Syrian mess, and that neither military force nor harsher sanctions should be used against Iran?"
BIBI: "OK, and I'll say that we want peaceful solutions to both problems, but that tougher sanctions must be imposed on Iran."
VLADY: "Done! And we'll be in touch."
BIBI: "Yes. You holding a ceremony to celebrate the liberation of Auschwitz? I might accept an invitation..."